Fri, Sep

Charles-Fevrier must continue as U-15 coach.

Dear Ed­i­tor

I read with be­muse­ment the cho­rus of op­po­si­tion against Na­tion­al Un­der-15 Foot­ball coach, Stu­art Charles-Fevri­er fol­low­ing the team's los­ing per­for­mances in the re­cent­ly con­clud­ed CON­CA­CAF Cham­pi­onship cam­paign ear­li­er this month in Flori­da, USA and the TTFA Un­der-15 Youth In­vi­ta­tion­al In­ter­na­tion­al Tour­na­ment held here in Ju­ly.

Among those most scathing in their crit­i­cism were for­mer Mal­ick Se­nior Sec­ondary Coach and cur­rent Board Di­rec­tor of the TTFA, Kei­th Look Loy and for­mer Tech­ni­cal Di­rec­tor of the TTFA An­ton Corneal, both of whom laid the blame for the team's los­ing per­for­mances square­ly on coach Charles-Fevri­er's shoul­ders.

Look Loy saw it as “weak­ness­es in coach­ing, a lack of team struc­ture, low-in­ten­si­ty play and poor de­fend­ing”, while Corneal sug­gest­ed that Charles-Fevri­er did not have the re­quired ex­pe­ri­ence and was op­er­at­ing by guess and fur­ther that one can­not play 'tri­al and er­ror with the na­tion's chil­dren'.

While the per­for­mances of the team were ad­mit­ted­ly dis­ap­point­ing, it is worth not­ing that the coach's long term am­bi­tions re­main this coun­try's qual­i­fi­ca­tion for 2021 Un­der-17 World Cup.

The pur­pose of these de­vel­op­ment tour­na­ments is among oth­er things, to al­low coach­es to ex­per­i­ment lib­er­al­ly with their play­ers and to al­low each play­er suf­fi­cient play­ing time to be bet­ter able to mea­sure their re­spec­tive ap­ti­tudes and weak­ness­es. While win­ning is im­por­tant, it is not at this stage a pri­or­i­ty in the con­text of the team's long term am­bi­tions of qual­i­fy­ing for the Un­der- 17 World Cup in over two years.

The sprint­er prepar­ing for the Olympics does not try to win every race that he runs in the buildup but rather his ob­jec­tive is to peak at the right time. Bat­tles are in­evitably lost on the way to win­ning the war.

Those who claim that coach Charles-Fevri­er lacks the req­ui­site ex­pe­ri­ence will do well to re­mem­ber that as Trinidad and To­ba­go's se­nior na­tion­al foot­ball team coach in 2003, he led the So­ca War­riors on a three-week tour of Kenya, Botswana and South Africa where they won, drew and lost re­spec­tive­ly to those coun­tries' na­tion­al se­nior teams.

The last game against South Africa saw the So­ca War­riors un­done by a con­tro­ver­sial penal­ty award­ed by a South African ref­er­ee when the score was 1-1, thus en­abling the Bafana Bafana to emerge vic­to­ri­ous 2-1.

Coach Charles-Fevri­er al­so served as Tech­ni­cal Di­rec­tor of the Na­tion­al se­nior team with Ja­mal Shab­baz as na­tion­al coach.

He at­tend­ed and com­plet­ed coach­ing cours­es with both the Eng­lish and the Brazil­ian Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tions. His suc­cess with W Con­nec­tion is leg­endary be­ing named Coach of the Year on many oc­ca­sions and win­ning nu­mer­ous FA Tro­phy Ti­tles, Pres­i­dent's Cups, Na­tion­al League Cham­pi­onships and the FCB Cup ti­tle.

Those who are loud­est in their crit­i­cism fear that coach Charles-Fevri­er's am­bi­tion to lead this coun­try to a World Cup fi­nal may even­tu­al­ly be re­alised with a team that is tal­ent­ed and gift­ed and he would have suc­ceed­ed where they have failed.

They have there­fore pounced on the team's loss­es as the jus­ti­fi­ca­tion to war­rant Charles-Fevri­er's sack­ing but this is noth­ing more than a cloaked de­sire to crush the coach's yet un­hatched am­bi­tions in the egg. Those who are loud­est in their con­dem­na­tion of the coach are fear­ful that he will suc­ceed where they have failed.

This in­se­cu­ri­ty lies in the fact that Charles-Fevri­er is St. Lu­cian born. Iron­i­cal­ly, he lived most of his life here in T&T af­ter he mi­grat­ed as a teenag­er and per­fect­ed his craft as a res­olute de­fend­er in our lo­cal leagues.
He reached his pin­na­cle as a play­er by play­ing for this coun­try's first pro­fes­sion­al crack out­fit ASL that boast­ed play­ers of the cal­i­bre of Ron La For­est, Leroy Spann, Bri­an Williams, Sam­my Llewellyn, among oth­ers.

For­mer na­tion­al star strik­er La For­est, a for­mer team­mate of coach Charles-Fevri­er at ASL and an ex­pe­ri­enced coach at present, was the most in­tel­lec­tu­al­ly hon­est and mea­sured in his com­ments. He urged pa­tience where oth­ers sought the coach's ter­mi­na­tion.

La For­est said it best, “Let the coach do his thing. He is a very ex­pe­ri­enced man and it is not a quick fix. Give him more time and you will see a dif­fer­ence.”

A prop­er di­etary regime along with a qual­i­fied psy­chol­o­gist is a sine qua non for a holis­tic de­vel­op­ment of these young men who are prod­ucts of a so­ci­ety rid­dled with drugs, crime and all man­ner of so­cial­ly dis­rup­tive ills and who there­fore re­quire our col­lec­tive pro­tec­tion, men­tor­ing and guid­ance as we pre­pare for the 2021 World Cup qual­i­fiers which will soon be up­on us.

Coach Charles-Fevri­er re­mains my lo­cal choice to get us there.

Pe­ter A.C. Tay­lor
At­tor­ney at Law
For­mer Min­is­ter of Le­gal Af­fairs